Dear Annie: My son has been dating “Meredith” for quite some time. They live together at college and plan to marry next year.
I don’t know how to handle this girl. She never says thank you when you give her a gift, even in person, or when we cook dinner for her. And when the rest of us get up to clear the table, she just sits there. It’s awkward for me to ask her to help.
She apparently was brought up without manners. I have discussed this with my son, who doesn’t seem to care, but it irks me to no end. Worse, my son always seems to be taking care of her. He rubs her back, clears her plate and brings her drinks and snacks. She never responds in kind.
This is going to create a lot of tension at future family get-togethers, and I want to say something before they marry. Do I just tell her my feelings directly and let the chips fall? – New Jersey
Dear New Jersey: Please don’t. It’s possible that Meredith is horrifically shy and cannot bring herself to respond in a normal way. That would require that you patiently teach her. But if that’s not the case, you have a rude, indulged girl who isn’t going to change unless your son insists on it. And he has no intention of doing so.
Talk to your son as neutrally as possible. Ask if Meredith treats you so poorly on purpose and, if so, why. Ask what you can do to improve things. But we urge you to do it without condemning Meredith, which would force your son to defend her. The point is to make him think about what his future with her will be like. If nothing changes, please find something to appreciate about this girl even if it kills you. The alternative is to risk alienating your son.